WATCH: CNN Staffer Goes on Five Tinder Dates With Project Veritas Spy Recording the Whole Thing
James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has just released new, secretly recorded footage on Tuesday that reveals CNN employees describing how the network worked to support President Joe Biden’s campaign during the 2020 presidential election. Mediaite has learned that this is the first in a series.
CNN Technical Director Charlie Chester played the video’s starring role. “Our focus was to get Trump out of office, right?” the video shows Chester telling someone off-camera. “Without saying it, that’s what it was.”
As is the case with videos made from source material captured from hidden cameras, one should approach the final product with a healthy dose of caution. Post-production editing is a dark art that can materially change the meaning and context of many things that seem obvious at first blush. (See Daily Show field segments from the aughts as an example.) But in this instance, there are enough examples of full and complete comments made by Chester that were clearly not crafted out of thin air, or misleading editing tricks.
A source close to CNN tells Mediaite that Chester was targeted by Project Veritas via the dating app Tinder, in which his dating profile included CNN. The unidentified Project Veritas employee claimed to be a nurse, and the two initially bonded over Chester’s past health concerns. They went on a total of five dates, the last of which occurred at a coffee shop in Chester’s neighborhood, but was interrupted by O’Keefe and others before leaving the coffee shop.
The most damning portion of the video is the opening supercut comprised of footage viewers see later in the video. While many of these comments are cut for time — as is the standard procedure for what is known as a “super tease” — when cut together so quickly it has the desired effect of being much more substantial than comments viewed on their own.
The footage didn’t make the identity of Chester’s conversational partner clear, though a rack of liquor bottles is clearly pictured behind him in one scene. Alcoholic beverages, including a wine glass and what appeared to be a can of Hop Peak IPA, appear in another.
Chester described his role in one scene as being “one step down from director,” though the role of technical director has no input on the content of any programming, and he was almost certainly not included in any editorial calls. Nonetheless, he was gainfully employed by CNN, clearly was observant to on-air programming, and referred to his network’s work to defeat former President Donald Trump as “propaganda,” but said he believed in the mission.
“Trump was — his hand was shaking, he was losing it,” Chester said. “He’s unfit. We were creating a story there. I think that’s propaganda.” In a separate cut-scene, he added, “We had nothing else to run with at that time. We were like, just taking shots off a bow, just hoping something would hit, you know?”
Covering for Biden’s Health
His conversational partner, a woman, tells him at one point that she has a “confession” about her concerns with Biden.
“I guess I have a confession,” the woman said. “I worry about Biden and his health, I guess.”
“Your news health?” Chester replied, apparently mishearing.
“No, I said Biden,” the woman responded. “I just want to, like, take care of him and make sure he’s OK.”
Chester assured her that was precisely the kind of concern the network worked to assuage during the campaign, saying, “The whole thing of him running … showing him jogging was obviously deflection of his age. and they’re trying to make it like, ‘Oh, I’m healthy.'”
“Is that what we did?” the woman asked. “I don’t know. Like, what do you mean?”
Chester drove the point home: “We would always show shots of him jogging. Like … ‘I’m healthy, and blah, blah, blah.’
OK If Biden Dies?
Chester also said he would be “OK” with it if Biden died, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris to ascend to the presidency.
“I had so many arguments about, like — my dad would be like, ‘You’re, you know, you’re voting in Kamala Harris because he’s going to die in the presidency,” Chester told the woman. “And I’m like, ‘He’s not going to f*cking die.’ But I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. She probably could be a b*tch in, like, a board meeting, and you’d hate her as a boss, but she’s f*cking real, and better than what we got regardless.”
O’Keefe defended his portrayal of a technical director in a statement to Mediaite: “As a technical director, Charlie Chester is fully involved in the day to day operations of CNN’s Newsroom. He is witness to decisions being made, and who they are coming from. He has full access to the culture within the network and explains — on video — how company-wide directives are being implemented.”
When asked about his surreptitious approach of using Tinder and reliance on a hidden camera and false pretense, O’Keefe added: “If it is the objective of the press is to deliver the truth to the public, circumstances can arise where undercover techniques are a necessity. According to Phillip Meyer, editor of a volume called Ethical Journalism, ‘Journalists have posed as schoolteachers, longshoremen, whorehouse customers, military servicemen, law enforcement officers, high school teachers, physicians, and many other things that they were not in order to observe behavior and hear statements they would not otherwise have been able to observe and hear.’”
Watch above via Project Veritas.
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